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The Power Primer

Season 3, Ep. 6

In my experience, leaders either use power well or they don’t. Thankfully, I’ve met more that fall into the “use power well” category. Here are four powerful leaders and the lessons they taught me. I hope their wisdom will touch you too.


Andy Grove: Be Gracious


Andy Grove always tried to feed me. He was that kind of man, making sure others were comfortable. He was the most gracious billionaire of the dozen or so I’ve met, and the one I’ve most wanted to emulate. When I first pitched him to invest in my venture capital fund he told me my presentation was “lucid.” That to me was a huge compliment. Later, when he introduced me to his wife, he said “this is the woman that is managing our money”—which was too generous as I managed an infinitesimal amount of his staggering net worth.


The more wealth and power he acquired, the more gracious, considerate, kind he was to me. He always met me “where I was” intellectually and asked questions that were simple, straightforward and effective. His assistant always worked with my calendar to find a mutually appropriate meeting time so I felt respected and like we were equals. That equality was a remarkable and rare experience.


Bill Gates: Be Certain


It was 1985 and Windows was being trashed in the press. It had recently been launched and was full of bugs, was a commercial disaster, and was nearly unanimously ridiculed. Bill was unfazed. He said Windows was going to be the world standard, it was just a matter of time. We just had to keep plugging away at it, people would come to embrace it, they just didn’t “get it” quite yet.


Society often implies that we need to succeed to then be confident. But Bill taught me the exact opposite: you start with certainty, with confidence and then the proof shows up. It took until 1990 for Windows to become the desktop standard. Bill kept believing and moving through all the criticism for five years. Why? Because Windows was going to be the world standard. It was just a matter of time. He was certain of it.


Larry Ellison: Be Bold


Back in the day before Oracle was the market leader, their competitor Sybase regularly ate Oracle’s proverbial lunch. Head to head on sales calls Sybase was technically superior… and yet Larry told the world he’d eat their lunch. As his team marketed and sold with bold claims of superiority Oracle got lucky: Sybase had some problems, their stock price crashed, and things started to fall apart. Larry seized the day and put Oracle on top. When one of my startups needed Oracle licenses and we couldn’t afford them I decided to be bold with him. I offered Larry stock options in my company in exchange for Oracle software. He told me I had guts to try that. I said I learned the behavior by observing him. He laughed, signed the stock document, and had his people give me six-digits worth of software. And he never even executed the stock options.



Stephen Hawking: Be Warm

I met Stephen at a White House lecture he was giving. This excerpt from my book Rules for Renegades says it all:

“Hi,” I say crouching before the seated man. He’s alone, slumped over the little desk attached to his wheelchair. “Your speech was terrific,” I tell him. “You make physics so . . . accessible. Thanks.” He smiles and shifts a little, preparing to type a reply into his speech synthesizer. Aware of the effort I say, “You needn’t respond.”

He looked up at me, into me, with deep dark eyes—no black holes here. His eyes embraced me in a down-duvet hug. And there it was: connection. I could feel his anguish, his giant, potent mind trapped in a tiny, twisted body. And right then my insecurity evaporates: I no longer care that I’m not a player, that I’ll probably never be all that important. Because my quest for success had been about being seen, about banishing the perpetual feeling of invisibility and inconsequence, about making sure I mattered. And right then, I did. I felt seen all the way through.

And I realized that this...this is a moment that I’ll remember, this very real, better-than-a-handshake moment: the touchless shake, the soulshake, of Professor Stephen Hawking.

Be Gracious. Be Certain. Be Bold. Be Warm.

Great leaders choose to lead, and they work hard to be the person that others choose to follow. They provide a vision for the future and a mission that their team believes in. They cultivate the desire to improve. Are you cultivating that intangible drive and passion for excellence, for being all that you can be? How can you cultivate the traits discussed above, not only for you but for your team members?


Show Notes:

Energetic Weight and Say What You Mean infographics

5 Ways Great Leaders Make Work Meaningful: https://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecomaford/2016/04/30/5-ways-great-leaders-make-work-meaningful-for-employees/#41bc52275742

Link to RFR: https://www.amazon.com/Rules-Renegades-Money-Career-Individuality/dp/0071489754


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2/16/2021

Resistance is Necessary for Optimal Organizations

Season 3, Ep. 14
Resistance is Necessary for Optimal OrganizationsYou may be familiar with the Chinese finger trap. It’s a toy that traps the victim’s fingers (often the index fingers) in both ends of a small cylinder woven from bamboo. The initial reaction of the victim is to pull their fingers outward, but this only tightens the trap.Resisting our experience has the same effect. We resist things, situations and people we perceive as hurtful, painful, or threatening to our safety, belonging, or mattering. Without these three key emotional experiences, we can’t shift to our Smart State and we can’t navigate our constantly changing landscape to reach self-actualization. Also, we are wired to resist what we believe will create a worse feeling for us.Resistance is the First Step Towards ChangeThe origin and etymology of resist (Late Middle English) is from the Latin resistere: re- (expressing opposition) + sistere (to stand). Aha! So resistance really means to stand in opposition. What are you taking a stand against?Let’s also take a look at the word reject, which is what we’re doing when we are resisting our Present State. The origin and etymology of reject (Late Middle English) is from the Latin verb rejacere: re- (meaning back) + jacere (to throw). Reject means to throw back or throw against. This stance isn’t just in opposition, it is opposing by attack. Yikes, this is even worse than resisting.Resistance isn’t necessarily bad. It’s often simply the first step of navigating change. The goal is to move forward rather than get stuck resisting. Resistance shows that someone is engaged to a degree, which is much better than being disengaged. Don’t be surprised if resistance turns to mockery, as some people express their upset that way. As leaders, it’s essential to move your team through this stage by asking what they are resisting.To help them identify what’s being resisted, ask them to contemplate what’s:Annoying about the particular change or initiativeDumb about the particular change or initiativeUnreasonable about the particular change or initiativeThen we address what we can, with the agreement that they’ll try the new initiative or plan. Ultimately, they’ll find some aspect of it to be useful. Over time this process will become habitual and eventually a new standard is established. Voilà! Enjoy the afterglow, until the next change comes along.Embrace Change and Gain EnergyThe trouble with resistance is that it takes a tremendous amount of energy in the form of pushing back and rejecting. When we direct energy toward what we don’t want, it actually helps draw it toward us. For example, the more you try to pull your fingers out of the Chinese finger trap, the tighter it becomes.You’ve likely heard the expression “what we resist persists.” Look at what you’ve resisted. Did they stick around in your life longer than you would’ve liked?Resistance merely stabilizes your Present State. Whatever we focus on, we fuel. When we resist the emotion, we make it stronger.Let’s consider the resistance vs consent path...Once we consent to resistance, we are ready to transform resistance.Show Notes:1.Image of Resistance vs Consent path2.Infographic: Safety, Belonging, Mattering3.SmartTribes graphic – Critter State, Smart State
2/9/2021

Why Your Team Doesn't Care

Season 3, Ep. 13
Why Your Team Doesn’t Care: The 4 Ways You’re Crushing Your CultureAre your team members highly accountable?Do they have a “Thank God It’s Monday” attitude?Do they take tons of initiative?If not, you’ve likely gotCrushed Culture.It’s a disease. And it’s going to become an epidemic if we don’t do something about it. Evidence: three companies I used to love now haveCrushed Culture: Lenscrafters, Hilton hotels, and evenat times(gasp) JetBlue.It’s spreading.According to the recent Gallup poll on employee engagement:“Seventy-one percent of American workers are ‘not engaged’ or ‘actively disengaged’ in their work, meaning they are emotionally disconnected from their workplaces and are less likely to be productive. This trend remained relatively stable throughout 2011.”What?This trend has remained relatively stable.Wow.Does this concern you?A lot?And don’t thinkCrushed Culturesymptoms are in the rank and file alone.“Our team is full of order takers.”“Why do we have so little accountability around here?”“We’re going through a lot of change. Why don’t our people embrace it?”These are but a few of the most common complaints and concerns I often hear from the C Suite. And I’ve been listening for a long time—almost 30 years. Employee disengagement, orCrushed Culture, has spread to the C Suite too.Four Steps to CureCrushed Culture:Step1: Emotional Equityis greater thanFinancial Equity.We all know what financial equity is—money—stock, comp packages, golden handcuffs. All the things we think will make people loyal to a company and keep them engaged. But this no longer works, as Gallup proves, and especially with Millennials. Nope, they, like the rest of us, want to feel like we’re part of something bigger, like we’re on a glorious mission, like our work matters, like we’ll leave the world just a little better than we found it, and we want to achieve that (in part) during our work hours.Here’s the formula:Put energy into someone by explaining why your company is doing what it is doing, what your mission,vision, andvaluesreallymean, mentor them, talk challenges out with them, pay attention to them and you’ll start to build emotional equity. That equity will now give you access to their heart, mind, Rolodex, idle thought cycles. Now they’re thinking about how to help the company innovate better, solve a specific problem, etc. as they shower and commute and whatever. That access to a person’s additional resources will enable you to influence outcomes more effectively. Now you have a shared cause, you’re on the same team, you’re safe and you belong together.It’s emotional.Step2:StopTheWhining.The C suite, management, staff, everyone needs to get off what I call the Tension Triangle. This is where people bounce from victim to rescuer to persecutor. Stephen Karpman, MD, first created this as theDreaded Drama Triangleor DDT. The DDT is comprised of three roles: Victim (the role where someone is “doing” something to them),Rescuer (who tries to remove the Victim’s suffering, often without being asked), and Persecutor (which the Victim blames for their suffering, yet the Persecutor is often feeling victimized too).David Emeraldhas extended this triangle, and I have extended it further. The net-net is Victims are complaining because they want something—so we help them shift to be an Outcome Creator. The Rescuer is just trying to end the suffering, so we help them become an Insight Creator by asking the right questions so the Victim can get what they need by themselves. The Persecutor is usually frustrated by trying to make things happen, so we help them become an Action Creator. Once everyone is trained in shifting their most prevalent role to a healthy alternative,the whining ends. Nowthat’s empowerment.Victim becomes Outcome CreatorRescuer becomes Insight CreatorPersecutor becomes Action CreatorStep3: Invest ONLY for ROI.Training your team is expensive. So only do what matters. Every person in your company needs to be trained in Problem to Outcome(to stop the Whining),LeadershipEffectiveness (so they become leaders in their own right), Influencing Outcomes and Others, Accountability,Communication, andExecution. Allthesebe neuroscience-based to get far more bang for your buck.This training willcost you about$750-1,000 per person. If your people aren’t worth that amount, then embraceCrushed Culture. Because that’s the risk we’re talking about.Step 4: Career Path—or Exit Strategy.Dave Peacock, President ofAnheuser-Buschrecently shared their refreshing approach to team member reviews. Each team member knows exactly where they stand based on the numberplusletterthey receive through their on-going review process. If you’re a 4A,you are such a corporate asset that your boss is obligated to promote you in a year. 4Bs must be promoted within 2 years. 3As need to be tested in a different role before they’re moved up. 3B means you’re in the right job at the right time. 2s are new in a position—it’s too early to judge. 1As are put on a recovery plan, 1Bs need to exit the company. We recommend to our clients that a team member should know their next 2 potential promotions, and what exactly they need to do to earn them. Are they loyal and engaged?Oh yes.Sothe harsh reality is that we, the leaders, createdCrushed Culture. Now we need to fix it.Here iswhat I’ll do to help:Number1) I’ll lay out the neuroscience processes you need to do to help cure yourCrushed Culturein record time.Keep listening to this podcastso you don’t miss any.Number2) I’ll give a30-minute strategy session (gratis, of course) to 3 of you. We’ll work on curing yourCrushed Culture.Go to my website,www.smarttribesinstitute.comto request a session.Together we'll cureCrushed Culture... one company at a time.Show NotesDDT (Dreaded Drama Triangle):http://www.karpmandramatriangle.com/pdf/thenewdramatriangles.pdfTension to Empowerment chart SmartTribesInstitute Strategy Session Request Form:https://smarttribesinstitute.com/strategy-session/